Chun has a day-off in the middle of the week. Sitting in front of his Mac and facing the window, he got envious of the nice sunshine and blue sky outside. He decided to go to the Palais de Tokyo which is near where he lives, and to go and see an exhibition: Zao Wou-Ki, a famous Chinese artist who spent half of his life in Paris.
From all that he saw this morning, Chun liked this big horizontal canvas the most. This certainly seemed abstract to him, yet mesmerizing. For a moment he imagines this painting hanging on a wall of an elegantly designed duplex/house. How appealing.
At the end of the exhibition, four ink-wash paintings were displayed. These were aparently part of a project for the stage curtains at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, a project that actually came to naught. That came to naught? How? Would have loved to see curtains like this in a theatre.
Most of Zao’s works are not titled, emphasizing to the abstract beauty of his paintings.
During this busy non-stop performance period, reading is particularly enjoyable. Is it really the period? or is it simply the book? Chun enjoys reading this third book of Kevin Kwan’s famous trilogy Crazy Rich Asians very much. He would read this before bed, until late, very late, captivated by the addictive plot, until his eyes burn.
This third book is mainly about the story’s Ah Ma (Grandma in Cantonese), Shang Su Yi. Reading it can’t stop Chun from thinking of his own Ah Ma……
A woman still actually cooks for her whole family in her nineties!!!! Ah Ma is undoubtedly one brave woman. When Chun was small, both of his parents had to work during the day, and the one who brought him up was Ah Ma. He especially misses the chicken wings that Ah Ma used to make him for lunch. Ah Ma knows Chun’s tastes very well, and because he has always loved the chicken wings, she would prepare him some each time when he goes back to Hong Kong…..
At her age, Ah Ma cannot travel anymore……
It was almost 2am, his eyes too tired from reading… Chun turned off the lights, was lying on his bed and staring at the ceiling, and started thinking about his sweet sweet childhood and all the moments that he spent with his grandma as he closed his eyes.
Two minutes later, his right hand reached for his iPhone which was on the floor. He rang his mother:
“- What happened Son? How come you’re awake at such hour?
– Mum, I should come back to Hong Kong in January even if the air ticket costs me 3000 euros!”
That night, Chun hadn’t slept so well since a long time.
16:00 – (in the studio Petipa) Just finished the rehearsal with Pontus Lidberg, a Swedish choreographer who is creating a new piece for us. The “research” and the working process is fun and much enriching. But hey, don’t overtire yourself, remember that you’ve a performance tonight. Do a little bit of stretching now.
16:15 – (back in the changing room) You should start to get prepared at 17:30, so you have a little bit more than an hour now, lie down and have a nap.
16:43 – (lying down in the changing room) “Mais non! C’est pas ça! Regarde, attends ‘ttends, regarde moi ça,” “Hahahahha! Wa le bâtard!”, “Hé oh! Vous vous calmez maintenant! Il y a des gens qui dorment”
17:20 – (changing room) On my phone reads “17:21” Okay, time to get out from your nap. Get down now. Oh I feel the nerves coming, What if I don’t succeed the difficult lift in the Red Ball? Will I be doing my spot or will I replace in the Golden Ball like the last time? I should really try things out in the Foyer before the show….. and what if I have a new partner? And what if it’s……. Chun, stop thinking go down and eat!
17:25 – (Canteen Garnier) I am not really hungry, and the food in the evening really looks and tastes like leftovers. But you have to eat otherwise when could you have dinner?
17:53 – (Plateau, make-up) The make-up artists are always smiling and kind. They really soothe my nerves. Oh, don’t forget to sign that paper later!
18:12 – (1er entresol, hairdresser) “I am sorry, my hair is a bit too long now….. must be difficult for you haha!”, “No! If you want to look like a bourgeois of the 18th century, it is perfect like this!”, “Well, maybe I’d like to have some volume in the front, but anyway I will wear a hat later in the Red Ball and hopefully it will not ruin it haha!”
18:24 – (2e Etage) Now you sign for your presence, done. Oh, okay, so you’re replacing in the Golden Ball tonight, dancing with her.
18:50 – (Changing room) Show in 40 minutes, certain dancers are already in full dress and all ready, don’t be ready too soon Chun, you’ll only have more time to get nervous before the show! Do a bit of foam rolling now.
19:15 – (Changing room) time to get dressed, I have just enough time to.
19:35 – (on stage) The ballet starts with a mime scene. Maybe try to place your hands earlier tonight for the difficult lift in Red Ball. It should be helpful. Also, you should follow your partner’s rythme……. Hey Chun! You’re on stage! Stop thinking about the Red Ball!!!!!!
20:03 – (Quick change room) Red Ball went well!!! Yeah! Much relieved. Half of the performance done for you! Can’t wait to get back home and enjoy my pasta with cheese. What should you do now? Golden Ball is in 2 hours in Act 3….. Maybe you should go to the gym.
20:31 – (Classe D, in front of the piano) I couldn’t resist when I saw a piano while going to the gym. After a bit of cardio and core exercises, I went to the piano. Piano playing consoles my soul, I need it to calm my nerves. The music keeps coming out from my fingers, my mind thinking of Golden Ball.
21:33 – (Classe D) “Mesdames et messieurs, l’acte 3 a commencé” Act 3 started, you should go down.
21:47 – (Foyer de la Danse) “Chun, do you know with whom you will dance on Monday?”, “I have no idea, why?”, “because the company told me to look at your partner’s spot, your partner is injured”, “What? Then who’s my partner tonight?” Panic.
22:00 – (on stage) “Sh**! I lost my necklace!”, “Don’t worry, it will be just fine” This time Chun was the one who is calm.
23:15 – (Avenue Mozart, walking home) Another performance done. Pasta and cheese, and my favorite reading time before sleep!
Today is Chun’s day-off. He took the time to rest and to let his body recover, to prepare himself for tomorrow’s rehearsals and performance.
He was also invited to a soirée parisienne in the evening, which made him a little nervous at first, because he didn’t know anyone there.
Arriving at the venue, he tried to walk around, and recognize nobody that he would know. Too reserved to start talking to the other guests, he took a cocktail and started observing the event from the corner of the beautiful Rotonde.
There was a little mentalist/magic show in the middle of the event, which was great. Chun wondered whether there are dancers who would perform in a reception like this.
Eventually, he started talking to others. Even though he was very curious to meet other people, Chun preferred sticking to a small number of people with whom he would have quality conversations.
There was a man who fell down on the floor, I guess from feeling ill and tired, or maybe too much alcohol? And a staff who dropped and broke a glass while serving us, it must be embarrassing for him in such a chic palace.
Meeting different people, witnessing all these, listening to others’ stories is so enriching. In life, the lived experiences will always stay with and within us, no one could ever take them from us. Let’s don’t be afraid and go find the experiences.
This Première of La Dame aux Camélias is over. My replacement in the Bal Doré went quite well, even though it was not perfect, but I am satisfied, so is my new partner I guess.
This ballet is full of partnering, and changing partner requires some practice. The beautiful long dresses and my gloves also make it even more difficult.
Tomorrow, we will start rehearsing in the afternoon for a new contemporary ballet by P. Lidberg, then another La Dame performance in the evening. I still do not know whether I will do my usual spot in the Golden Ball or will I replace like I did tonight…
It is now 23:00, my body is tired and I am starving, I can’t want to get home and eat.
I took this photo while walking out from the backstage door of the Palais Garnier, heading towards the metro station Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette, and passing through the beautiful light decorations.
I am now in the quick change area at the backstage, just finished the Red Ball (the most difficult part for me in the ballet), waiting to do the Golden Ball in Act 3. There’s one difficult step in the Red Ball. Every time I get nervous about this step. Even though I worked on it for more than 3 months, I never feel perfectly confident with it.
Tonight was the first show, I was a little more nervous than usual, because no matter how well I used to do in the rehearsals during the past few months, the shows are what really matter. Much to my relieve, it went quite well.
Whenever there’s a difficult step like this, I tend to think about that day and night, worrying that I may not perfectly succeed. This makes the performances less enjoyable for me. There are 19 more performances to go. I should learn to be confident and to enjoy every moment on stage, with the live Chopin music, my all time favorite.